NOTE: This reflection is part of an assignment requirement for Lamar University course EDLD 5363 Multimedia & Video Technology
“Media production engages and excites; it leads to unexpected discoveries, increased self-awareness and esteem, sharpened critical thinking, analytical skills, group work skills, and ability to communicate ideas” (Garrison, 1999). In following educational blogs and research over the past year and a half, I have read themes similar to Garrison’s many times over. A number of educators are writing about the engagement and growth that multimedia production encourages in their students. I have not personally worked much with multimedia production, and having been out of the classroom for ten years did not have the opportunity to work in this medium with students. Over the past two weeks, however, the readings in our Multimedia and Video Technology class as well as last week’s personal digital story project and this week’s video editing experimentation and podcast assignments have stimulated my interest in multimedia and video editing. I was excited when a blog post called Doing a “FLIP” Across the Curriculum (Zimmer557, 2010) came across my Twitter stream on Friday because it was full of ideas on how to use FLIP video cameras in the classroom. I know I will grow in my knowledge of this area even more over the next three weeks as we work on a group project to produce a public service announcement, and I look forward to continuing to find new ways to use multimedia to reach teachers for professional development as well as to encourage them to design engaging multimedia projects with their students.
Video is one medium of multimedia production that can be used to reach teachers and engage students. According to Desktop-Video-Guide.com (n.d.), after shooting and capturing video to a computer, the next step is to edit the video by adding effects, transitions, titles, and even sound. This week, we were given the task of using and evaluating two different video editing software packages of our choosing. Since I work in a K-12 school system with a technology budget that we stretch as far as possible, I decided to look only at free video editing solutions. The two options I experimented with were YouTube Video Editor and Windows Movie Maker.
YouTube's Video Editor
A big positive I see for using YouTube Video Editor is its simplicity. If all you need is to take some unedited video, trim a bit from the start or end, and add a musical soundtrack without worrying about copyright, you can have a decently edited video in a short amount of time. I also see several drawbacks to using YouTube Video Editor in a K-12 setting. First of all, you can’t work narration into the video unless you do it before uploading to YouTube, and then you cannot use YouTube’s music for a soundtrack option for the video because it will completely replace your original narration. Using AudioSwap music as your sound track may also result in advertisements being placed on your video. Second, the final video is rendered on YouTube and not downloadable, so anyone you want to share the video with must have access to YouTube and you cannot make a local copy for archival purposes. Third, you have to make sure you have permission/rights to post all of the media and people in the video publicly to comply with YouTube’s terms of service. The last drawback is not specifically related to the editor itself, but the fact that YouTube is blocked in many K-12 settings due to the necessity of CIPA compliance.
Windows Movie Maker
After experimenting with Movie Maker, I felt I had used a program that would allow for the kind of editing referenced in the Desktop-Video-Guide.com (n.d.) article. One of the big positives for me as someone new to video editing was even though it is a feature-filled program, Movie Maker was relatively simple to use after watching about an hour’s worth of tutorials. I’m sure a teacher or student with more video editing experience than me would find the program intuitive without needing to watch a tutorial. A second big positive is the fact that Movie Maker comes for free with Windows XP and Vista. Movie Maker is not included with Windows 7, but version 2.6 can be downloaded from Microsoft and installed on your Windows 7 PC.
The potential for sharing your final projects is increased by using Movie Maker over YouTube Video Editor. Movie Maker has multiple options for rendering the final videos, including publishing in .wmv format which will play in Windows Media Player on a PC. If you want your movie to be cross-platform without having to upload it to the web, you can export it in .avi, a more universal format which will allow your video to play in QuickTime on Mac and Windows computers as well as in Windows Media Player on PCs.
In a contest between YouTube Video Editor and Windows Movie Maker, Movie Maker wins for me. I feel Movie Maker is more robust in its features while remaining simple to use in a K-12 setting, where computer time is often a precious commodity and less-steep learning curves for software mean more time for accomplishing meaningful projects. I enjoyed learning about and using both programs, however, and in the process learning more about video editing itself. I look forward to using the techniques I experimented with in the remaining weeks of our class.
Desktop-Video-Guide. (n.d.). The various stages of creating a digital video. Retrieved August 31, 2010 from http://www.desktop-video-guide.com/video-creation.html
Garrison, A. (1999, Winter). Video basics and production projects for the classroom. Media Matters. Retrieved August 31, 2010 from http://www.medialit.org/reading_room/article3.html
Zimmer557. (2010, September 3). Doing a “FLIP” across the curriculum [Web log post]. Retrieved September 3, 2010 from http://edutechintegration.blogspot.com/2010/09/doing-flip-across-curriculum.html